Dental implants can change the way people live. With them, people are rediscovering the comfort and confidence to eat, speak, laugh and enjoy life.
Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting jaw bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. The great news? Implants act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Dr. Mead places and restores implant for single and multiple missing teeth. He can help you decide if dental implants are a good tooth replacement option for you.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are tiny titanium posts which are placed into the jaw bone where teeth are missing and act as an artificial root. Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. In addition, dental implants can help preserve facial structure, preventing the bone deterioration which occurs when teeth are missing.
Are implants right for me?
A good candidate for implants is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their dentures. Age is not a factor.
If, like many others, you feel implant dentistry is the choice for you, Dr. Mead will give you a full comprehensive exam and review your health history. He will assess your existing bone to see if it is sufficient to accommodate an implant. Sometimes a 3D scan may also be required to aid in precise implant placement.
The success of an implant relies on the stability of the bone that forms around it. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. For individuals with an insufficient amount of bone, implants may not be the best option. In some cases, bone grafting can enhance the quantity and quality of existing bone and make dental implants a possibility. Implant success also requires good healing. Diabetes, smoking and some medications inhibit the healing process and lower the success rate of implant placement.
How are implants placed?
Dental implants are surgically placed into the jaw bone. This is usually done under local anesthetic similar to other dental restorative appointments like fillings. It takes about two months for the surrounding bone to integrate the implant. Dr. Mead monitors the progress during this time to determine when the implant is stable and ready to support the final restoration. At that point, small posts are then attached to the implant, which protrude through the gums. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth. Dr. Mead can design the final crowns, bridges or dentures to have the form and function of natural teeth. The entire process usually takes 3-6 months. Most patients do not experience any disruption in their daily life.